rAge 2013: The PlayStation 4 PlayRoom Is One Fun Nerdgasm
At rAge 2013, us strange media people were treated to a behind-closed-doors tech demonstration of Sony’s PlayStation 4 PlayRoom, a feature that will come built into your PlayStation 4 at launch. Before I get to my impressions of it though, I’d like to point out that I recorded the demonstration on my phone, so you can check it out above if you want to see it. Keep in mind that it was my cell phone at work and not a hi-tech video camera, so the quality won’t be perfect, but I think it’s decent enough for a comfortable watch.
Now, in the demonstration we were basically shown some fun things that the augmented reality feature will allow you to do in your living room. The presentation was only five minutes, so we weren’t shown a whole lot, but rather given a bit of a teaser and then we were allowed to try the technology out for ourselves, which was pretty awesome. But to first give you a breakdown of what we saw, the PlayStation man doing the presenting showed us how you can play around with a little robot on your screen.
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You can drag him all over the screen, stroke it to make it happy, poke it, engage in some fun mini games, or hilariously slap it to first make it sad and then, after repeated beatings, anger it enough to attack you with elemental attacks such as lightning, ice or fire. It was really funny to see the little robot blast the presenter with a fireball and light his head on fire. However, by far the most entertaining thing was having a whole small army of robots on the screen, and then using the lightbar to suck them into the controller. Once they were there, you’d be able to hear them rumbling around inside, and with a button press you can see what’s going on inside your controller. It’s pretty awesome to see all these miniature robots inside your Dualshock 4, and you can then do things like cover the light bar to trap them in darkness, or push buttons to send waves of light inside, to which they’ll start dancing to disco-style if you press enough. You can also shake the controller to cause a mini earthquake, and it was definitely memorable to see one of the robots fly into the screen and slide down comically.
You can toss them back out of your controller with the touch pad. We were also shown some funny extras like waving at the bots to see them jump up and down with excitement and wave back, or using your controller to send out a large rubber duck to scare the hell out of them. I’m sure there are plenty of other little things to entertain as well, which we will find out when we get the tech in our homes. One thing I really loved though was navigating the menu, as it felt like being Tony Stark in a way, with you holding the menu squares in your hands and interacting with them in the air.
Of course something like this is great for nerdgasms, showing off technology and entertaining for a few minutes, or for hours if you’re showing it off to kids, but the potential is definitely there with the tech itself. There are numerous other features available such as air hockey, which is designed for two players and, while we didn’t see it in action, we heard about how you can alter the size and dimensions of the table while playing.
So far, I really like The PlayRoom, as it looks like a very entertaining feature. The worry with technology like this is that the novelty can always wear off after a while, but here’s hoping that it gets put to inventive and awesome use once the PS4 launches. I’m not quite sure of its long-term plan just yet, but it’s only a two month wait until we can get the tech in our hands.